If there is anything the Ramzan campaigns on this list prove, it is the fact that there is real value in concepts that are relatable, inspirational and entertaining. Luscious food shots may be an eye candy for hungry audiences, but when you add strong emotional storylines that tug at the heartstrings, you end up with soul candy for the people. Here are the campaigns that tugged at our hearts.
1. Samsung – Dekho Meri Nazar Se
The campaign invited us to peek at a world without man-made divides. The TVC launched the Rizq-e-Ramzan #Millionmeals campaign that Samsung is running with Rizq (which has pledged to serve a million meals during this holy season). Powerful visuals depicting poverty are spliced with hard-hitting data on food insecurity, driving home the wealth disparity many Pakistanis have become immune to. The campaign reminds us that underneath all the claptrap, we are all equal (and this includes transgenders). If ever there was a message that needed to be blared out from rooftops, this is it.
2. Ideas Gul Ahmed – Pehla Roza
Kudos to Gul Ahmed for figuring that the way to connect to Millennials is through authenticity (after all, this is the generation that had lived the longest with everyone’s innards hanging out on social media). Avoiding the obvious celebratory roza khushai backlit-with-fairy-lights routine, Gul Ahmed went with the very real trials children experience the first time they fast. They did well, winning hearts with a campaign that captured the warts and all of a child’s first roza on a lazy summer day.
3. Telenor – Share Your Meal 2018
With all brands reminding us to do and be good during Ramzan, the din can become a little preachy. Telenor’s Share Your Meal TVC veered dangerously close to doing this, but was saved from the abyss by its hashtag campaign. Telenor Pakistan put its money where its mouth is by pledging to donate a meal to the needy every time the hashtag #ShareYourMeal was shared. Share away...
4. Sufi Group TVC 2018
Sufi took the collective dream of a poolside wedding and relocating to Turkey, and turned it into an ad. You really cannot go wrong with fantasy meets picture-perfect couple. However, the team that shot this couldn’t decide what to leave out and so they crammed it all in, taking the running time to a whopping 3.20 minutes ('less is more' can go jump in the pool). Intersperse the storyline of a hesitant newly-wed couple hanging out with hot Turkish friends, gorging on deep-fried Pakistani goodies and the groom buying business class tickets for his wife's parents – and your brand is bound to make waves. Oh the good life!
5. Surf Excel – Ek Neki Rozana
Surf Excel’s Ramzan 2018 campaign succeeds in taking the ‘Dirt is Good’ concept up a notch by tying it with love, family and forgiveness. Cast a cherubic looking boy, who is instrumental in bringing together his quarrelling family; add a few grease stains on his kurta and the tears are bound to flow. And what are a few grease stains compared to restored family love around the iftar table? Surf Excel once again wins the tearjerker game.
6. Coca-Cola & Ramzan
There are too many good things happening in Coke’s Ramzan campaigns. There is the beautiful rendition of Allama Iqbal’s ‘Lab pe aati hai dua’ in the different regional languages of Pakistan and they pulled that off seamlessly, in fact brilliantly, making you wonder why nobody thought of it before. Then, there is the #EidiforEdhi with Coca-Cola’s #BottleOfChange campaign encouraging people to donate to Pakistan’s best-known philanthropic organisation by filling up Coke bottles with change. (You have to love the play on words in the hashtags.) And then there are all these beautiful people: Ali Rehman, Ali Sethi, Gul Panra, Momina Mustehsan, Sajal Ali and Younus Khan. If we have to nitpick here, I would say that maybe Ali Sethi should have sung the entire song...
7. Mezan Oil Ramzan TVC 2018
TV is notorious for fanning the flames of the saas bahu conflict, which is why Mezan Oil’s Ramzan TVC was such a winner. Coupling a refreshing take on the MIL-DIL relationship, with excellent acting by Shamim Hilali, Savera Nadeem and Ali Tahir, this TVC crowns our list. Mezan’s message for all the irritable bahus waking up for sehri and dealing with ageing in-laws at unearthly hours totally warmed our cockles.
Shahrezad Samiuddin is a screenwriter and a pop culture junkie. firstname.lastname@example.org